What is Ratio Analysis?

Ratio analysis is a financial analysis technique used to evaluate the performance, profitability, and financial health of a company. It involves calculating and interpreting various ratios that are derived from the financial statements of a business. Ratio analysis helps stakeholders, such as investors, lenders, and management, to gain insights into the company’s financial strengths, weaknesses, and trends.

The primary purpose of ratio analysis is to assess the relationship between different financial numbers and derive meaningful information from them. It involves comparing financial ratios over time (trend analysis) or against industry benchmarks (benchmarking) to gauge the company’s performance and identify areas for improvement.

Here are some commonly used ratios in ratio analysis:

1. Liquidity Ratios: These ratios measure a company’s ability to meet short-term obligations and assess its overall liquidity and solvency. Examples include the current ratio (current assets divided by current liabilities) and the quick ratio (quick assets divided by current liabilities).

2. Profitability Ratios: Profitability ratios evaluate a company’s ability to generate profits in relation to its sales, assets, or equity. Examples include gross profit margin, operating profit margin, net profit margin, return on assets (ROA), and return on equity (ROE).

3. Efficiency Ratios: Efficiency ratios assess how effectively a company utilizes its assets and resources to generate sales or income. Examples include inventory turnover ratio, accounts receivable turnover ratio, and accounts payable turnover ratio.

4. Financial Leverage Ratios: These ratios analyze the company’s capital structure and its ability to meet long-term obligations. Examples include the debt-to-equity ratio, interest coverage ratio, and debt ratio.

5. Market Ratios: Market ratios provide insights into the company’s market value and investor perception. Examples include price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, earnings per share (EPS), and dividend yield.

Ratio analysis helps stakeholders interpret the financial performance of a company in a meaningful way. It enables them to identify trends, compare performance with competitors, assess risk, and make informed decisions regarding investments, lending, and operational strategies. However, it’s important to note that ratio analysis should be used in conjunction with other financial analysis tools and qualitative factors for a comprehensive understanding of a company’s financial position.

By analyzing and interpreting various ratios, stakeholders can gain a deeper understanding of a company’s financial performance, profitability, and efficiency, which ultimately helps them assess the company’s overall financial health and make informed decisions.


1. Investopedia – Ratio Analysis: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/ratioanalysis.asp

2. Corporate Finance Institute – Ratio Analysis: https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/finance/ratio-analysis/

3. SAICA website – https://www.saica.co.za/ (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants)

Ratio analysis is a financial analysis technique used to evaluate the performance, profitability, and financial health of a company.

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